How to Train Your Hair to Stop Overproducing Oil

Struggling with an oily (yet somehow still dry??) scalp?

It seems impossible, but I was right there with you until I realized I needed to train my hair and scalp to find their natural balance.

Now that I wash my hair less often, my scalp is softer, more supple, and sooo much less oily.

But to be honest, I expected all that.

The things I didn’t expect were:
  • How many hours hair training has saved me on styling time each week – just a few touch-ups are all I need.
  • How much money hair training has saved me on hair products – I use most of them only on wash day.
  • How much healthier my hair is from using heat tools less often – my hair feels so much silkier than before.

I went from dry and oily to healthier hair, more time and money. It’s a triple win – and all from taking the steps to train my hair.

What is hair training?

Kaley brushing hair with Denman hair brush

Hair training is simply teaching your hair to produce the right amount of oil by gradually reducing the frequency of hair washing.

Seems a little…counterproductive, doesn’t it?

But, over-washing your hair dries out your scalp because shampoo strips the natural oils from your scalp. Then, your body thinks it needs to send more oil to the scalp, which it does in abundance! This trains your scalp to overproduce sebum (aka the natural oil produced by the scalp), leading to instantly oily hair, dryness, breakage, and other issues.

So, you need to train your hair to get back in balance!

By using a mild shampoo and conditioner and gradually stretching the time between washing your hair, you can help your scalp adjust its sebum production, ultimately leading to healthier hair.

How do I get my scalp to produce less oil?

I recommend training your hair in one-day steps. So, if you wash your hair every day, start by stretching your wash day to every other day – then add another day between washes every two weeks.

If your scalp has adapted after those two weeks (i.e., isn’t overproducing oil), start washing your hair every third day for another two weeks. Then, after two weeks of this schedule, wash your hair every fourth day for two weeks.

Continue extending your wash-day cycle until you strike the perfect balance for your hair type. Typically, that’s about 4 to 5 days between wash days for fine/thin hair and up to 10 days for thick/coarse hair.

Be sure to monitor your scalp throughout your training regime. If you’re noticing that your scalp is super oily at any point, then stick with your current wash-day cycle until your scalp adapts. So if, after two weeks of washing your hair every 3 days, it’s still super oily – go another two weeks on that schedule.

Remember that like any training, the key here is consistency! So, try to be patient as you give your scalp time to learn and adapt!

I feel like I also need to give you a PSA – I still wash my body every day – because hygiene is essential here!

Wash day - Prep your hair for training

Styling and prepping are important on wash days. Done right and you’ll keep your hair looking more voluminous and fresh between washes.

  • Blow-dry your hair – though heat isn’t as gentle as air-drying, you’ll keep your hair less oily by blow-drying it away from your scalp and in the opposite direction your hair usually lays. Use higher heat to really fluff up your hair cuticles for extra volume.
  • Apply products – apply root booster, leave-in conditioner or heat-protectants. If you have an especially oily scalp apply a lightweight dry shampoo after blow-drying. My favorite products and how I use them here
  • Curl your hair – flat hair allows those natural oils a clear path to travel down your shaft and makes your hair look greasy faster. Changing the pattern of your hair, aka, curling it in a wavy pattern, will create more volume, and slow down that spreading oil.

Watch my hair curling tutorial below ⌄⌄

In-between days - Use a lightweight dry shampoo and brush through

This is the tough part. Every day that goes by, your hair will be crying out to you, leaking oily tears and begging you to wash it. Ok, maybe it’s not so dramatic, but stick with it and your scalp will reward you!

  • Use a lightweight dry shampoo – to start, you won’t need a ton of help combatting oil, so, a lighter dry shampoo will keep your hair looking fresh, fabulous – and voluminous!
  • Brush dry shampoo through your hair – massage into your roots, then gently brush the dry shampoo through your hair to soak up excess oil. This will also push extra oil into your hair strands, helping to naturally moisturize them. Be sure to brush from the bottom and work your way up to work out tangles and avoid breakage
  • Switch your look – on those especially oily days, wear your hair up, or wear a cute hat if you’re just not feeling the oily hair look 😉

Final days - Use a heavier dry shampoo and apply Nourish + Repair Serum

Nice work! You’ve powered through and you’re almost to the wash-day finish line. You’ll notice your hair texture is more gritty, and you’ll have a ton of va-va-volume!

  • Apply a heavier dry shampoo – you’re dealing with a lot more oil, so you’ll want to switch to a heavyweight shampoo that can keep up with all that oil production. Remember to gently brush it through your hair!
  • Apply Nourish + Repair Serum the night before your wash day, wet the ends of your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner (like argan oil) to really lock in moisture and seal any split ends.
  • Use silk to avoid breakage – now that your hair is saturated with argan oil, gently pull your hair into a loose bun or braids that will keep it in place and drinking up that “liquid gold” through the night. To reduce friction and breakage as you sleep, use a silk scrunchie!